Men dominate Gypsy Culture. As seen in “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding,” women do not have any real freedom; their parents or their husbands always control them. The show features a few girls who work prior to getting married, but they too quit upon getting married. Roma society expects women to work only to tending to their husbands every whim. One episode showed a man who called his wife and made her drive forty miles to bring him lunch rather than stopping at a restaurant. Americans and Europeans alike frown upon women’s lack of independence and rights in Roma society. In America today, women still only receive 70cent for every dollar a man earns for the same job and chauvinism is still rampant, but those dam Gypsies must be stopped!
The Roma have very strictly defined gender roles and live in a patriarchic, hegemonic society, think family structure somewhere between the Von Trapps (pre Maria) and “Leave it to Beaver” (Levinson &Sparks 588). Manliness is the basis for Cultural capital, how savvy an individual is within a society, in Gypsy culture. The Roma define manliness by physical strength, sexual popularity, and business skills where as men tend to stay away from compassion or tenderness (Levinson &Sparks 588-589). By these standards, Roma men are pretty “bro.”
“Bro” banter observed around campus, like talking about pumping iron while drinking muscle milk or playing a sport—ultimate Frisbee—to have an excuse to walk around school shirtless, has certain similarities to what would gain cultural capitol amongst the Roma men. There exists “a pre-occupation with physical strength seemed not unrelated to the assertion of authority in dealings with male participants” (Levinson &Sparks589). Wait, which group was that describing? (It was the Roma, technically…) So, yes, women are in a subordinate position, and, yes, they are expected to cook and clean for their husbands and not have a life of their own, but how is that different from the “bro’s” go-to joke: commanding any girl in the vicinity to make a sandwich? Americans call the male domination in Roma society “abusive,” but the same principles exist abundantly in our own society. For an American to condemn Roma society for being sexist is shear hypocrisy.